Sara Reads the Feed #5

I woke up in almost as much pain as yesterday, but at least I figured out what hurt me. Apparently dropping it to the floor and trying to twerk like Megan Thee Stallion without a warmup, or a recent history of exercise, or her glorious butt, is a really good way to flare up old injuries I KNOW THAT I HAVE. Yet I really thought I could do that.

My worry at first was that I was getting sick (the pain was in so many regions, I thought it was inflammation ache), but no…my arms just hurt from vigorous crochet, and I broke my hips because I’m not Megan Thee Stallion, STILL. The hot girl life is brutal. Clearly this means I should twerk on the floor more, not less.

The pain makes it really difficult to work at my standing desk, but at this point, I’ve made it near-impossible to convert from standing to sitting. I make myself sit somewhere else in the house so I’m incapable of hiding in my office for hours at a time.

Still, I might have enough tolerance in these creaky thirty-something hips to get through reading my feed. I did it twice yesterday so it’s only 100-something articles to filter through. Let’s take a look…


Ars Technica: Globalism vs. the scientific revolution

There’s a new book talking about science which tries to decenter it from Europe.

Poskett waits all of one paragraph before declaring it a “myth” that science’s origin involved figures like Copernicus and Galileo. Instead, he places it not so much elsewhere as nearly everywhere—in astronomical observatories along the Silk Road and in Arabic countries, in catalogs of Western Hemisphere plants by the Aztecs, and in other efforts that were made to record what people had seen of the natural world.

Some of those efforts, as Poskett makes clear, required the organized production of information that we see in modern science. Early astronomical observatories boosted accuracy by constructing enormous buildings structured to enable the measurement of the position of heavenly bodies—hugely expensive projects that often required some form of royal patronage. Records were kept over time and were disseminated to other countries and cultures, another commonality with modern science. Some of this activity dates back all the way to Babylon.

The author of the article seems skeptical that anything before European Science is Actual Science.

His definition of science is even broader (and probably on even weaker ground) when he refers to things like an Aztec herbalism manual as science. Is there any evidence that the herbs it described were effective against the maladies they were used to treat? Finding that out is definitely something science could do. Yet it would require scientific staples like experiments and controls, and there is no indication that the Aztecs ever considered those approaches. Poskett’s choice of using it as an example seems to highlight how organized knowledge on its own isn’t enough to qualify as science.

You heard it here first, guys. If modernish European guys couldn’t rationalize their way through it, then the things the Aztecs knew where wrong. Ok buddy.


A nuanced review of Alan Wake II from Jessica Conditt on Engadget. I found the first game clunky enough, but I did finish it. I’d rather play a shooter than a mystery game, honestly. Trying to balance the two of them in my head doesn’t sound interesting.


Emptywheel: Judge Rules Trump Had the Purpose of Inciting Insurrection on January 6.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Wallace’s ruling is that she found, over and over, that Trump’s side did not present evidence to fight the claim of insurrection. Trump’s legal expert, Robert Delahunty (who contributed to some of the most outrageous War on Terror OLC opinions), presented no definition of insurrection that wouldn’t include January 6. Kash Patel presented no evidence to back his claim that Trump intended to call out 10,000 members of the National Guard. Trump presented no evidence that criminal conviction was required before disqualification. There was no evidence presented that Trump did not support the mob’s purpose.

This feels like “no shit” territory, but nothing about the obviousness of Trump’s fascist movement prevented him from reaching the insurrection itself. So. This is why I could never be an actual journalist or fancy legal brain person: I see things with my eyes and I just get annoyed we have to prove the thing we know. Society, man.


This comic about bouldering from The New Yorker is cute. It accurately catches the effect of picking up a rock climbing hobby, too: you will alarm everyone by trying to climb on a lot of things.


Al Jazeera: Famed Roma activist Gelu Duminică on challenging stereotypes and changing the dictionary definition of the word ‘gypsy’.

This is one of those racial slurs that a lot of Americans still do not realize is a racial slur.


Engadget: SpaceX loses another Starship after rocket explodes during test flight.


Great review of Ijeoma Oluo’s new book, Be a Revolution, from Publisher’s Weekly.


I’m so glad Iman Vellani has such a healthy attitude toward the box office for The Marvels.

“I don’t want to focus on something that’s not even in my control, because what’s the point? That’s for Bob Iger. [The box office] has nothing to do with me. I’m happy with the finished product, and the people that I care about enjoyed the film.”

I get such Annoying Baby Sister energy from her, and I’m speaking as the Annoying Baby Sister. Her interview with Seth Meyers was adorable.


  • Rory Hume

    regarding starship’s launch: your eldest told me all week that it would be a disaster ending in explosion, so that’s the least surprising link i’ve seen.

    regarding alan wake 2: i’ve played the first game and control (which is like alan wake 1.5 in a lot of ways), and i never find the stories satisfying, but the art design is wonderful. control has one of my all-time favorite scenes in a video game, too. i won’t rush out to play alan wake 2, but i’ll play it in a year or two, fully aware that i will find it lacking, but also interesting.

    iman vellani is probably 95% of the reason i’ll see the marvels eventually. ms. marvel was one of the best mcu offerings in the past five years, easily.

    i would say “it’s ridiculous that people can look at what pre-european american cultures did and not view it as science”, but. that’s bigotry.

    • Sara Reine

      I view SCIENCE! as the specific movement using the scientific method, including the institutional system of studies and meta studies and whatnot that have established themselves. That doesn’t mean that humans didn’t know things before SCIENCE! or have other ways of evaluating what worked and what did not. Basically I argue that SCIENCE! is mostly a modernish Western thing but there are other systems of evidence-based information accrual for other societies, which had(/have?) validity for their times and places. If you see science as describing reality then it might seem anything else is tomfoolery, but when you see science as yet another system invented and maintained and filtered by humans, it becomes easy to see the places where gaps can happen.

      i spend so much time looking at scientific studies, and then looking at who sponsored the studies, and considering the angles and biases, and realizing how often people manage to see whatever they want in science and then hide behind it.

Leave a Reply